Trip the Light Fantastic: Extended Concert Programme | Thu 30 Nov
- Extended Concert Programme
Bristol Beacon & Paraorchestra present
Trip The Light Fantastic
Paraorchestra with Surgeons Girl, Charles Hazlewood, and Limbic Cinema
Thu 30 Nov 2023, 7pm & 9.30pm
Produced by Paraorchestra
Commissioned by Bristol Beacon
Lead Artist and Composer – Surgeons Girl
Conductor – Charles Hazlewood
Illuminated by Limbic Cinema
Responding Composer – Oliver Vibrans
Prelude to a Beginning Composer – Asteryth Sloane
Running time: 75 minutes
It is a privilege and an honour to welcome you here tonight. I have no doubt that this will be an incredibly special and celebratory evening and the perfect note on which to open Bristol Beacon.
We have built a wonderful place full of warmth and light, where music lovers meet and everyone belongs. This building is our engine. It is our home. Bristol’s stage. We thank you all for your belief in the power of music and that Bristol deserves a world class venue.
This is for you.
Louise Mitchell CBE
Chief Executive, Bristol Beacon
This is a moment of enormous significance. This glorious venue reopens as a beacon of brave new hope, possibility and inclusivity and as Associate Artists of Bristol Beacon we are delighted to present this brand new commission in celebration of that.
Paraorchestra is the only orchestra in the world actively recruiting and nurturing exceptional disabled talent whilst creating music that subverts accepted norms, challenging absolutely anyone’s belief that an orchestra is not for them.
But all pioneers need friends, and the success of Paraorchestra to date can be ascribed in no small part to friends like Bristol Beacon.
Artistic Director, Paraorchestra
Trip the Light Fantastic embodies Paraorchestra’s spirit of adventure in the very nature of its composition.
It’s not just as simple as a musician writing a score and an orchestrator creating a seedbed of sound to be played underneath. Sinead McMillan’s – aka Surgeons Girl’s – electronic compositions have been transmuted into orchestral parts by responding composer Oliver Vibrans.
Throughout the creation of the show, these were performed by and improvised upon by Paraorchestra musicians. The resulting sounds are then mixed, dubbed, and modulated live by Oliver and Sinead, bouncing the music back and forth between each other and adding new layers at every turn.
It’s in this collaborative spirit that we approach all of our music making at Paraorchestra, involving the individual personalities within the orchestra so that they have a hand in the growth of a piece. They’re not jjust turning up to rehearse a fait accompli, they’ve been fertilising it from the off. I hope it shows when you hear it.
It’s been a joy to finally work with the extraordinary Limbic Cinema whose work we have admired from afar for a while. This talented team have immersed themselves in Sinead and Oliver’s music to create a visual response that more than matches our intrepid soundworld. Expect to see the hall illuminated in a way that shows off its lines, beauty, and majestic new form.
In just a few moments, the evening will open with the enticingly titled Prelude to a Beginning; a new composition by Paraorchestra’s very own Asteryth Sloane, a shimmering, sensual work rising from primordial silence and focusing us to the stage.
Many may already know that “trip the light fantastic” is a phrase attributed to the seventeenth century English poet, John Milton, one of the first and most celebrated proponents of freedom of expression. In creating a work for a space of unbridled creativity, this feels like a fitting touchpoint as we celebrate a radiant new beginning for Bristol Beacon.
Artistic Director, Paraorchestra
Paraorchestra create large scale dynamic music experiences, blending artforms and technology to create innovative new ways of experiencing orchestral music.
Created in collaboration with their ensembles of professional disabled and non-disabled musicians, and artists across artforms and genres, Paraorchestra’s work appeals to the widest audience, and is radically shifting outdated perceptions of orchestral music and of disability.
Under the Artistic Direction of award-winning conductor, Charles Hazlewood, Paraorchestra seeks to disrupt and reinvent the orchestral norm. Whether marching a 50—piece karaoke pop ensemble through suburban streets, headlining a main stage at Glastonbury Festival with Philip Glass’ Heroes symphony, or reworking pioneering electronic music in a nightclub; Paraorchestra is sharing relevant and dynamic orchestral music with audiences that otherwise may not have engaged with an orchestra. Their partnerships with broadcasters Sky Arts and Real World Records have taken their work directly into the homes of millions across the globe.
Of their full playing strength nearly 40 Paraorchestra musicians identify as disabled, D/deaf, or neurodivergent. They are the only orchestra in the world pro-actively increasing their representation of professional disabled players, removing the barriers that prevent disabled players from performing at their very best.
In Autumn 2023 Paraorchestra launched an extensive Artist Development programme, created in recognition of a lack of professional support and development opportunities for musicians identifying as disabled. Huge expansion of their existing programme of work – including paid residencies and workshops – will provide meaningful opportunities for world-class music making and give those that identify as disabled an advantage for their career development.
About Bristol Beacon
Bristol Beacon is a music charity, renowned venue and award-winning music education hub.
With a city-wide programme of live music, creative learning opportunities and community engagement, we’re here to help make space for music every day, with everyone. With you!
A place of welcome, warmth and light, we extend an open invitation to the city for everyone to come and share in the joy of live music and celebrate this in everything we do.
Our purpose is to share the unity and joy of live music. We do this through an artistic programme of music performance which, during the transformation of Bristol Beacon, includes over 200 gigs and concerts per year in over 35 partner venues across Bristol and Bath.
As the city’s music hub, we run a programme of creative learning reaching over 30,000 young people every year from Beacon Music Centre in Southmead and across Bristol’s schools.
We offer support for creatives giving emerging artists and industry professionals the tools they need for a successful career in the music industry.
And we collaborate with Bristol’s diverse communities on projects to ensure music is at the heart of our city.
Charles Hazlewood, Artistic Director
Award-winning conductor (EBU Conducting Competition 1995, 1st Prize) Charles Hazlewood has worked with many of the world’s greatest orchestras including Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam; The Philharmonia; Swedish Radio Symphony; Danish Radio Symphony. A visionary with a mission to bring the joy of orchestral music to a 21st Century audience, his collaborations with artists span genres and generations and include Nigel Kennedy, Goldie, Squarepusher, and Wyclef Jean. He has authored, presented, and conducted in multiple landmark and award-winning films for BBC and Sky Arts; won three Sony Radio Academy Awards for his shows on BBC Radio 2 and 3; and composed scores for multiple critically-acclaimed theatre productions. He was a Castaway on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2020; has three TED talks to his name; is Sky Arts’ Ambassador for Music; and in 2023 was honoured by leading charity Making Music with the Sir Charles Groves prize for his “outstanding contribution to British music”
Surgeons Girl is a composer working with Analogue hardware, vocals, piano and generative visuals with influences which lie in both the ambient and techno genres, weaving emotive and enveloping sounds from her instruments with a remarkable introspective feel and sonic maturity, drawing on influences from the likes of Laurel Halo, Caterina Barbieri, and Dasha Rush. Her A Violet Sleep EP marked a stunning, dream-like debut for the Bristol based artist on the Bristol label, Livity Sound. She followed this up with The Empress Moss on London label Inside Out Records and then Sever earlier this year on Barcelona label, Lapsus Records.
Oliver Vibrans is an Ivor Novello award winning Composer, writing music for the concert hall, theatre, film, art installations and radio. His most recent work includes Duet for One at The Orange Tree, Richmond; The Solid Life of Sugar Water, winner of best production at the Offies 2022; Hatchet Job for Royal Northern College of Music; The Music and Meditation Podcast for BBC Concert Orchestra; and Monomyth for the Halle. He has also composed music for two episodes of Charles Hazlewood’s documentary Reinventing the Orchestra for Sky Arts with Paraorchestra; Treading Water for the BBC Philharmonic; and More Up, a piece for Chamber orchestra and electronics for The Halle, BBC Philharmonic and The Able Orchestra. Oliver has won an Ivor Novello award and been nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society award.
Asteryth Sloane (formally known as Xia-Leon Sloane) is a composer and trainee psychotherapist. Graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in 2022, their academic work explored Ethical Listening – a way of engaging with the rights of sounds and sound sources that opens the way for closer, more equal sonic relationships. Asteryth’s music responds to the beauty and fragility of the living Earth and embodies aspects of queer and autistic experience. This year they have a residency with Paraorchestra, during which they are creating an album exploring music’s place in a therapeutic healing process.
Alberto Vidal Borella
Hattie McCall Davies
Chloe Vincent (db. piccolo)
Lila Bhattacherjee (db. piccolo and alto flute)
Deronne White (db. bass flute)
Ben Marshall (db. cor anglais)
Lloyd Coleman (db. E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet)
Matthew Scott (db. bass clarinet)
Fliss Gorst (db. soprano saxophone and clarinet)
Linton Stephens (db. contrabassoon)
Sarah Campbell (db. flugelhorn)
Rebecca Crawshaw (db. flugelhorn)
Yusuf Narcin (bass)
Ross Hughes (db. celeste)
RF and Stage Patch
Medical Assistant/ Covid Supervisor
Freelance Marketing Support
Click Track Operator
PA to Tilly Chester
PA to Asteryth Sloane
Technical Assistant to Steve Varden
Creative Direction and Video Design
Jen L Roxburgh
For their work on and off Trip the Light Fantastic:
Assistant Music Director
Associate Music Director
Senior Producer (Artist Development)
Head of Communications
Marketing & Digital Comms Manager
Senior Producer (Projects)
Programme Director (Deputy CEO)
Hannah Williams Walton
Trip The Light Fantastic is made up of eight movements:
- Iron & Lace
- Tears of an Actress
- Chaos in Clock
- Death & Reign
- Almost Melody
- Trip the Light Fantastic
Paraorchestra wish to thank
Our Chair Giles Gibbons and all of the Paraorchestra Trustees.
Giles Gibbons (Chair)
Clarence Adoo MBE
Louise Mitchell CBE
As a registered charity (no. 1163725) Paraorchestra are grateful for the support of their core funders Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Mark Leonard Trust, The Linbury Trust and Garfield Weston Foundation.
Bristol Beacon wish to thank
With heartfelt thanks to all Bristol Beacon staff and trustees, and all the project staff who have built this transformative space as well as our supporters and partners.
Bristol Beacon Trustees
Simon Chapman (Chair)
Cllr Craig Cheney (Bristol City Council)
Sandra Meadows MBE, FRSA
Louise Mitchell CBE
Our transformation has been made possible thanks to the visionary support of: Bristol City Council, Arts Council England, HM Government, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, WECA, Bristol Water, Burges Salmon, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Jack and Monica Britton Trust, St James Place, John James Bristol Foundation, Nisbet Trust, Quartet Community Foundation and The Wolfson Foundation.
Over 9,000 individuals have made one-off donations to the transformation project, with contributions ranging from £5 a month as a seat namer up to a £1 million gift.
Our heartfelt thanks to you all.
Bristol Music Trust is a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1140898)